There are five councillors to be drawn from eight candidates in the Wellington constituency of the Wellington Regional Council, unfortunately. I say unfortunately, because there are more than three candidates who are unelectable. What I want from the regional council is to keep rates under control, more protection for property rights, minimal compliance costs, effective stewardship of waterways, cost-effective management of public transport and resistance to a supercity.
I wont get that, at all. To me it is a fair option to leave the whole lot blank, but that will give some succour to the amalgamation enthusiasts. However, there is no decent anti-amalgamation ticket. The candidacy is full of leftwing candidates, barring one, with the only matter as to whether you want to create a dysfunctional Regional Council full of nutters, or want to mitigate damage by keeping out the worst candidates. I
What I'll get are...
Judith Aitken: "committed to the long-term purposes of the RMA", "wants a comprehensive, integrated approach to development planning and energy-efficient urban design", "active support for insulating at least another 5000 homes" "support for young people in creative, high-tech start-up businesses". She isn't the worst candidate. She supports fare increases over rates increases for public transport. WCC Watch thinks this is hypocrisy because of her "Gold Card" (but I don't see anyone on the left canning that). Aitken was with Labour once. From a harm mitigation point of view, rank her 2nd. Yes, you've reached nearly the best candidate! Rank 2 or just give up now....
Paul Bruce: Like I said yesterday, eco-loon, who bikes everywhere and admits he is in the Green Party. He gets credit from me for two things, one is that he practices what he preaches (unlike the motorist Sue Kedgley) and the other is that he is genuinely an amiable chap. However, as an eco-loon he is a light rail fetishist, would cover many of our roads with speed bumps and 30km/h speed limits, clog buses with people carrying bikes, somehow shift more freight onto rail and shipping (no, he can't do that), is anti-fracking and deep-sea oil exploration, and wants "community owned energy projects". He wont control rates and his enthusiasm for banning things and regulating make him beyond the pale. However, he is not singing the praises of local body amalgamation. Could I rank him? No. No Ranking. I just can't endorse him.
Mike Fleming: His great interest is future proofing infrastructure for an earthquake. Fine, keeps him out of implementing the RMA, grand public transport schemes (he supports public transport, with larger park and ride railway stations, which is fine) and trying to save the planet by regulating Wellington. Easily wins Rank 1
Sue Kedgley: Don't let this woman near power ever again. Fiction peddling, publicity seeking control freak. Vote for Paul Bruce over her any day. Her parody Twitter account (@SueKedgleyMP) can't be too far from what she thinks.
Chris Laidlaw: Says he is independent, but is Labour and one of the shortest term Labour MPs I know of, as he won the 1992 by-election when Fran Wilde stood down as Wellington Central MP, only to lose it to (then) National's Pauline Gardiner in 1993. Awful, simpering, left-wing Marxist "liberal", who I was told is remarkably lazy. The only reason to vote for him is to keep the two Greens out, so hold your nose, turn away and Rank 5
Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati: As a Member of the Mana Party she probably thinks I'm being racist by rejecting her candidacy. She wants to use more trolleybusses (sic) although it would help if she could spell. She doesn't like people paying for water ("it's a right" which of course means she wants to force everyone to pay for water, regardless of how much or little you use). Free public transport for kids, which will increase obesity. She wants to pay people more, regardless of performance, except for councillors and management. She wants to stop the Regional Council borrowing from banks, finally she wants to "nationalise" public transport, killing off the private sector so the Regional Council has a nice cozy monopoly of highly-paid unionised providers. Socialist, representing an avowedly racist party. Don't rank
Daran Ponter: Incumbent councillor, ex. public servant who I met a couple of times. Hard working and bright, but very much on the left. He wants a referendum on a super city. Good! He wants lower public transport fares, implying higher rates. Bad! He seems anti-Basin Reserve flyover which is a bit predictably childish (the last Labour Government funded umpteen flyovers). However, for the greater good of keeping out the Greens, and because he is honest about his party affiliation I'm going to hold my nose and Rank 4.
Fran Wilde: We all know Fran was Labour, so why doesn't she admit it? I'm a bit bemused as to why she still cites homosexual law reform as part of her record. Yes it is, and was perhaps her proudest achievement and justifiably so, but it WAS 1985 and has nothing to do with the Regional Council. She supports a mega-city, which is a big reason to not give her first place, so Rank 3 because she is less left wing than Ponter or Laidlaw, but Fleming and Aitken need your vote more.
Now go have a stiff drink, and a bath. You'll need it.